There are dozens of closing techniques in the world of sales, but none of them will be of any use in the real world if you miss the big picture: building relationships.
Being a good salesperson depends on the habits that you’ll adopt, both as a professional and as a human being: things like listening, focusing on the client, asking relevant questions and genuinely caring about other people. People buy when they trust the seller and they won’t trust you if it feels like you’re only considering your needs and reading from a script.
It’s a cliché in itself to call the ABCs of selling a cliché, but it’s not necessarily wrong to implement the general idea. Indeed, “always be closing” could just mean establishing a relationship and building trust with your clients, because what makes a client or prospect interested in signing on the dotted line is a belief that you know what they need and are equipped to provide it. It doesn’t hurt if they like you, either.
“People like doing business with those they can relate to,” Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, said on his blog. “If you are going to spend money, why not spend it on people you like, right?”
There are no 10 best closing techniques, no list of when and where to use which method. The truth is that you’ll have to determine what works for your business and your clients. You’ll have to analyze your own sales history and watch your salespeople to determine the key strategies that helped you meet your sales goals. Sales is not about book smarts: it’s about street smarts. Rote memorization is useless; real life experience is everything. With that said, there are a few ideas to keep in mind to make closing as easy as possible — and, of course, some techniques to avoid:
- Know your buyer
Everybody likes to feel unique and interesting. We all like to think we’re apart from the pack and that our needs are more nuanced and sophisticated. Play to that feeling your prospects have. Ignore the Jones Theory (don’t try to get your prospects to sign up for something that they see as a trend). Instead, recognize what makes your client unique (or how they think of themselves as unique) and play to that.
- Set boundaries
Decide early on what compromises you’re willing to make. In an ideal world, the sale will be made on your terms: but in reality, there will probably be some areas that will require a little flexibility on your part. Knowing your limits in advance will set you up for success — not necessarily guaranteeing a successful sale, but guaranteeing that you won’t make regrettable concessions on a deal that wasn’t worth it.
- Eliminate distractions
Saying “yes” is just part of it: make it easy for your prospect to finalize the deal. I don’t know how many times I’ve been ready to sign on to something and backed out before finalizing because of all the steps required of me just to sign. Even though I was interested in the deal, it just wasn’t worth the effort. Eliminate the hoops, erase the distractions and get your prospect from point A (saying yes) to point B (signing the paper) as quickly and as simply as possible.
- Be confident, not overeager
If they’re not ready yet, they’re not ready yet. Don’t keep calling until you hear an answer, but don’t wait and keep them active in your sales cycle. Send them an email explaining that you understand it may not be a good time for them. Leave your information and let them know they can reach out when they’re ready. It’s likely they will sooner than you think. In the meantime, you can spend your energy on the deals that are moving forward.
“The saying goes: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way,’’’ Grant Cardone, an international sales expert, wrote on Entrepreneur.com. “This mindset of knowing you will reach an agreement requires you to eliminate all negativity from your environment as though it were a disease that kills, and be assured, it does.”
- Ignore outdated and overused techniques
You’ve heard them all: from the assumptive close to the flyfish close, some selling techniques are just so incredibly outdated that they’re useless. If you’d like to undo all of the good you’ve done with your prospects so far and pretend like you don’t have a solid relationship and have built up a level of trust, go for it: be a used-car salesperson. But if you don’t want to flush your hard work down the drain, don’t treat your clients this way. Don’t ask them to customize the product before they’ve agreed to buy it, and definitely don’t dangle it in front of their face and tell them you’re offering a deal of a lifetime. They’ll smell your desperation a mile away.
“Customers hate it when sellers hammer away at them, trying to close a deal,” Geoffrey James, a contributing editor to Inc.com, wrote. “Nothing creates resistance faster than the old hard sell.”
The old sales techniques are no secret, even to the masses of buyers out there. They’ll spot tricks and sense desperation if you’re relying on some sales-specific mnemonic to get the sale. They do not appreciate relentless attempts to get the deal finalized. What they do appreciate is working with someone who’s honest, open and knowledgeable.